FAMILIES tucked into picnics and enjoyed some fun in the sun at the Halifax’s Big Lunch on Sunday.
Mums, dads, grandmas and grandads flocked to St Mary’s Parish Centre in Mirfield.
But there were some very special family members who were the centre of attention – teddy bears!
The Big Lunch is a national event aimed at encouraging neighbours – and whole communities – to meet up and come together.
The Halifax bank sponsored this year’s Big Lunch and nine West Yorkshire branches joined forces to put on a brilliant day in Mirfield.
All profits from the event – at least £800 – will go to the Alzheimer’s Society, the bank’s chosen charity. The final total will be doubled by the Halifax.
Joint organiser Victoria Harrison, 31, the Dewsbury branch manager, said the day was a huge success and added: “We had hundreds of people come along, the sun shone and everyone had a great time.
“We are delighted with how it went and everybody said they had a fantastic time.”
The theme of Mirfield’s Big Lunch was a teddy bears’ picnic – and treasured teddies were out in numbers.
From famous bears like Pudsey, the symbol of the BBC’s Children in Need Appeal, and old favourite Winnie the Pooh to a fluffy white, pink-nosed bear with no name and a homemade black and white cow bear named Moo-ey.
Victoria, who organised the event with Victoria Del Giudice, said they had just five weeks to pull everything together.
“It was hard work and pretty much full-on for the last week but worth every bit of the time and effort we put in,” she said.
Some 30 members of staff from the two branches in Huddersfield and others in Brighouse, Mirfield, Dewsbury, Batley, Heckmondwike, Cleckheaton and Ossett turned out on the day to ensure everything went without a hitch.
Staff in all the branches raised money to put on the event so that virtually everything – right down to tea, coffee, cakes and buns – was free.
Bake sales in the branches raised hundreds of pounds with £317 alone from the Batley branch.
Suzanne Mawson, a customer services assistant at Batley, said the bake sale went down a treat with customers.
“There was a really good atmosphere,” she said. “The last thing you expect to see in the banking hall are homemade fairy cakes!”
Suzanne also manned a stall at the Big Lunch colouring hair with special hairspray, something that goes down well with youngsters at her local football club Woodkirk Valley FC.
Other attractions on the day included face-painting, build-your-own teddy bear, a raffle, a name-the-bear competition and a chocolate fountain.
There was a fire engine from Mirfield Fire Station with crew commander Daniel Inman and firefighters James Hopkins, Michelle Smith and Sara Hutchison.
One of the highlights of the day were two cabaret shows by dancers from the Sutton School of Performing Arts, which is based at St Mary’s.
After lunch there was the chance for youngsters to burn off some excess energy courtesy of Adam Rogers, from Accelerate2Speed based in Sheffield.
Adam held sprint trials for youngsters to see how they measured up to world record holder Usain Bolt.
The Jamaican covered 30 metres in 3.79 seconds and Adam clocked a five-year-old at 7.4 seconds.
“That’s pretty quick,” said James. “It’s really important for kids to take part in sport and exercise. We’ve had a great time.”
Families loved every minute too.
Hannah Burns, aged five, from Mirfield, tucked into chocolate spread sandwiches with Winnie the Pooh and said: “Winnie loves picnics.”
Her brother Oliver, two, brought a ‘teddy’ with a difference – Scrat the sabre-toothed squirrel from Ice Age.
Mum Sarah Wilson, 33, and dad Daniel Burns, 30, didn’t have teddies but still had fun.
“It’s such a lovely day and it’s nice to come out and enjoy the sun,” said Sarah.
Hazel and Jeff Lomer, of Birstall, brought daughter April, two.
April was cuddling a nameless white bear with a pink nose and Hazel said: “She had so many bears she didn’t know which one to bring.”
Chloe Hawkins, nine, and 10-year-old Georgia Byrne, both from Thornhill, Dewsbury, had no trouble deciding.
They brought bears they had made themselves, called Moo-ey and Thumper.
Cutest ‘bear’ of the day had to be four-year-old Lucas Gumbley, from Rochdale, who brought Pudsey bear – and then had his face painted in Pudsey style.
Lucas partied with sister Polly, six, cousin Kacie Roose, eight, and mum Suzanne Gumbley, 27.
Lucas’ auntie Tina Greenwood works at the Halifax’s Dewsbury branch.
“There was so much to do,” said Suzanne. “It’s been a lovely day.”